First principles on charter schools

As state lawmakers again debate changes to Pennsylvania’s Charter School Law, I think it is time for a return to first principles.

Our local senator, Lloyd Smucker, is being recognized for his leadership on the charter school issue, and Sen. Smucker took to the pages of the Sunday News to defend charter reform legislation he introduced.

The senator calls charter schools “one of the true innovations of the past generation,” even as he concedes the original law did not anticipate the rise of cyber charter schools. Yet it is these schools that are costing our local taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Snow Daze

MakeUp-DaysI hope you are enjoying this brief “February thaw,” even if forecasters are warning us not to get too comfortable. Still, despite the sun and melting snow, winter weather remains top of mind for so many!

Elementary Conference Concerns

Tell-Us-SurveyWe have heard from some parents who gave us feedback on the schedule for our elementary parent-teacher conferences this past fall. My guest today is Dr. Kelly Cartwright, our director of elementary education, who is working with teachers and administrators to set the elementary conference schedule for 2014.

Attention parents and teachers of elementary students: We want to hear from you!

Preliminary Budget Issues

At our meeting on Monday, the CV school board will hear a presentation to begin our formal budgetary process for the 2014-2015 school year. Though the press seems to have moved on from the “school funding crisis” story, school directors still face challenging decisions. Here’s a preview of some of the issues our board will discuss.

Character, Community, Commitment: Some Evidence

Happy New Year from Conestoga Valley! I hope all have returned to school refreshed and energized to get off to a great start in 2014. For our high school students, starting the year off on the right foot means finishing the first semester strong—final exams will be administered over the next two weeks.

Before we leave the holidays behind, I want to acknowledge the tremendous generosity our students and staff showed over the past few months. Students from every school and every grade level participated in some form of charitable program, affecting people in need here at home and around the world.

Holiday Gift Ideas from CV

Lots of publications produce “holiday gift guides” this time of year, so I thought Buckskin Briefs would get in on the act. The truth is, not all gifts are created equal. I invited Mrs. Michelle Trasborg, our Supervisor of Communications, to make some suggestions on simple holiday presents that can be part of a much greater gift—a love of literacy that will positively impact children for the rest of their lives.

It’s a busy time of year for all as we balance holiday events, decorating, and shopping with already hectic lives. Selecting gifts for children can be challenging as families don’t always know what to buy. Television commercials promote gadgets and trinkets with promises of happy smiles and hours of fun. Unfortunately, many of these gifts are easily broken, pieces are lost, and they don’t live up to their promises.

As the supervisor of English and Reading, I’d like to offer some other options for your consideration to simplify your gift giving this year. Here are my top five gift suggestions for what to get children of all ages. These will help build a love of literacy that will last for years to come!

You Can Help Kids Stay Safe Online

The newspaper Thursday published a lengthy report on Twitter “crushes” pages, on which local students are anonymously posting vulgar, often sexually explicit, comments about other students—and identifying their subjects by name. My guest today is Chris Smith, supervisor of technology services, who has done a great deal of work on protecting our network and educating our students about these threats.

I share my colleagues’ disgust at the content posted on Twitter “crushes” pages, as detailed in an investigation in today’s Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era. But I empathize with the conundrum technology presents to educators. My question is, do parents understand know what they can do?

Character. Community. Commitment.

This week, our website and Facebook pages changed to reflect our school district’s new logos, which you may have already seen appear elsewhere throughout the district. This change is a step forward in reinforcing Conestoga Valley’s “brand,” and it is worth reflecting on the process.